Hawks boss charged for ‘fraud’

2013-05-22 13:50

The head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga has been charged for alleged fraud relating to travel claims.

Major-General Simon Mapiane has appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ court this morning and was released on free bail.

Mpumalanga provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Hlathi and his Hawks counterpart, Captain Paul Ramaloko, confirmed Mapiane’s appearance in court but said they were discussing how to communicate the matter.

Ramaloko eventually said national police spokesperson Brigadier Phuti Setati would handle communication on the matter but when City Press approached him for comment, he said: “Phone me after five hours. I’m busy with something urgent right now.”

Mapiane’s cellphone rang unanswered.

Mapiane is not the only senior cop to be charged for alleged travel claims fraud in recent times in the province.

Major-General Thembi Hadebe, a deputy provincial commissioner, was charged late last year for alleged fraud relating to claiming accommodation and travel expenses for a private trip at the state’s expense.

Hadebe was eventually found not guilty in court.

Other senior cops that were charged before her include Brigadier Vusi Mdakane, former Nelspruit group commanding officer, who has since been dismissed for fraudulent claims worth R1 500.

Insiders have alleged that anyone having differences with provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Thulani Ntombela was charged – a claim which Ntombela has vehemently denied.

City Press was told last year that Mapiane had had a serious fallout with Ntombela. At that time, Mapiane said he had only heard rumours about the bad blood between him and Ntombela.

The sources alleged that the two did not agree on how to handle investigations into the R1.2-billion Mbombela Stadium tender corruption. The case moved forward after their relationship soured.

Ntombela has denied this allegation too.

The sources said that Hadebe became unpopular with Ntombela after she advised in 2010 that constables Finish Mkhabela and Dumisani Mhlanga should not be charged for misconduct until more evidence was gathered about their alleged complicity in the murder of former Mbombela council speaker Jimmy Mohlala.

Mohlala was fatally shot at his KaNyamazane home in January 4 2009 while exposing tender corruption related to the soccer stadium.

Ntombela, however, pursued the case internally and criminally, even though the only evidence he had was a whistleblowers’ affidavit. He fired the cops in March 2011.

The charges against the cops were withdrawn by the Nelspruit regional court due to lack of evidence.

Ntombela denied this allegation.

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